As of this post, WOW! was in the top ten providers for Netflix performance.  They are also one of the only internet providers in the midwest and northeast regions that offer truly “unlimited” service with no data caps or overage fees.
We’ve done the research to figure out which plan has the best value for internet-only customers, as well as which bundled TV/internet/phone plan makes the most sense for family homes that need a mix of services.
Best Overall Value WOW! Deals
Internet 100 – Best Plan for Cord Cutters
Internet 100 is currently WOW!'s best Netflix-friendly selection. They've recently updated this plan to include free installation and a lower $39.99/month price. Unlike most cable plans, this price lasts the full two years of the contract, rather than just the first 6-12 months. This adds up to hundreds in savings, assuming you're able to sign a two-year contract. (If not, they have slightly more expensive month-to-month plans available. Call number above to check options at your address.)
The high download speeds are a huge boost from their more basic plans, with enough bandwidth to handle daily use for as many as six household members. This plan can handle multiple simultaneous HD video streams as well as two-way applications like Skype or Google Hangouts. If you stream TV to a large screen or rely on an IP security system, this plan is the cheapest one that will handle it without issues.
Like most Internet providers, WOW! includes a WiFi router for and additional $10/month. You can remove this fee by using your own router, but keep in mind this means you are responsible for maintaining and upgrading your own equipment rather than having the WOW! tech handle it during the free installation.
The caveat with the Internet 100 plan is the contract: if you need to break, early termination fees will apply, up to a maximum of $345. Renters and short-term residents should call and request info about no-contract plans.
Internet 100 + Medium Cable — Best Double Play
The "Internet 100 + Medium Cable" package is WOW!'s best value family-oriented double play bundle. It comes in at a promotional price that's comparable to Internet-only plans from competing DSL and fiber providers in their coverage areas.
This deal includes around 150 basic cable and local channels and streaming-capable 100 Mbps Internet download speeds. WOW! has updated this plan to include one free premium channel (HBO, Cinemax, Showtime, or Starz). These premium channels normally cost extra on top of the base price.
Unlike their Internet-only plans, this bundle has a price increase for the second year of the two-year contract. The price rises from $74.99/month to $84.99/month for the second year. This adds $120 to the total price over two years, although it's still cheaper than most cable offerings with this many channels. However, they throw in the DVR for free for the first year.
Full List of WOW! Internet, TV, and Phone Plans
WOW! keeps things pretty simple with their bundled plans, and recently has been pushing customers to move away from the basic cable TV plans and towards their more interactive WOW ULTRA “smart TV” experience. WOW ULTRA integrates directly with Netflix and also provides a clear interface for managing your home Wi-Fi from the same box. It’s often compared to the Apple TV, although in functionality and appearance it’s more similar to the Xfinity X1 Entertainment Platform. (I’ll jump into more details on WOW ULTRA below.)
|Deals||Price Monthly||Internet Speed||Phone|
|Internet 100 – Best Plan for Cord Cutters||$2999||100 Mbps Cable||(888) 604-8299|
|500 Mbps||$4999||500 Mbps Cable||(888) 604-8299|
|Internet 100 + Medium Cable — Best Double Play||$7499||100 Mbps Cable||(888) 604-8299|
|500 Mbps + Medium TV||$9499||500 Mbps Cable||(888) 604-8299|
|100 Mbps + Medium TV + Advanced Home Phone (Unlimited nationwide long distance and calls to Canada and U.S. Territories.)||$8999||100 Mbps Cable||(888) 604-8299|
|100 Mbps + Large TV + Advanced Home Phone (Unlimited nationwide long distance and calls to Canada and U.S. Territories.)||$10999||100 Mbps Cable||(888) 604-8299|
|500 Mbps + Large TV + Advanced Home Phone (Unlimited nationwide long distance and calls to Canada and U.S. Territories.)||$12999||500 Mbps Cable||(888) 604-8299|
Is WOW! The Best Option In My Area?
WOW! makes the most sense for cord cutters and “techie” power users. Their TV service is solid overall, but the fiber-coaxial download speeds are what’s really special about them as a provider. Most customers have access to fiber-based speeds in the 100 Mbps range, which is more than fast enough to support a busy household with 3–6 users who all want to stream content, video chat, and etc.
WOW!’s complete channel listings vary depending on your service area. (Local TV listings can be accessed at their website.) If the rundown doesn’t quite cover everything you’re looking for, satellite providers like DirecTV or DISH TV can provide more channel variety and HD channels.
Aside from NFL Sunday Ticket, WOW!’s TV options are very similar to DirecTV, although they get a bit pricier for the premium catch-all package. All the premium options you would expect like HBO, NFL Network, and Viceland are present and accounted for.
Should I Get Internet-Only or Bundle In TV as well?
WOW! Internet plansStandalone Wow! internet service plans usually offer the fastest speed for the price in their area. The prices on basic plans in the 10 Mbps range are surprisingly low, especially compared to what you see from other cable providers. (Base prices in the $60 range are, unfortunately, the norm in many areas.)
That being said, we generally recommend that customers spend a little more to get the top speed in their area, since the difference in price isn’t that big for a 10x boost in service quality. It’s a noticeable difference, especially for streaming HD video.
The budget Internet-only plans really only make sense if you are getting your TV from a separate, dedicated TV service such as WOW! ULTRA or DirecTV. Streaming services like Sling or Netflix that depend on your Internet connection can be challenging plans below 10 Mbps.
WOW! double play Internet/TV plansWOW! takes the Goldilocks approach on TV, offering small, medium, and large packages. Just as with Goldilocks, the “medium” package is usually the best value. The price tag on the large package can be hard to stomach if you aren’t a daily TV viewer, and the channel selection on the small package is surprisingly slim.
If it’s available in your area, the ULTRA TV platform they offer is a solid value, and we’ve noticed they frequently include limited-time add-ons such as free months on Hulu.
WOW! triple play Internet/TV/phone plansWOW!’s landline service is pretty standard in terms of features, with the main perk being unlimited calling within the entire US (including territories like Guam and the Virgin Islands) as well as Canada.
Should I Get a Contract or Buy Month-To-Month?
Like many cable providers, WOW! offers two options when you sign up, regardless of plan. You can either:
- Pay a slightly higher price and cancel anytime
- Pay a slightly lower price but agree to subscribe for 1–2 years
The month-to-month option is recommended for renters, students, and anyone else who has a possibility of needing to move within a 1–2 year period.
The contract plans have the best price if you’re willing to stay put and keep the same service, but keep in mind that they come with a maximum $345 fee if you cancel before the end of the contract.
Either way, WOW! generally offers 30-day satisfaction guarantees on their service, so be sure to address any issues with performance or service quality with their technical support before that period ends.
WOW! Customer Service Record
Customer service has long been a key differentiator for WOW! when compared to other major cable or DSL providers. With most providers, calling their help line results in an endless labyrinth of keypad prerequisites before you eventually wind up talking to someone in India who likely doesn’t have much experience with your specific area.
When you call WOW!, on the other hand, you get quickly redirected to representatives in the city your service is in, who generally are friendly and have a strong understanding of network issues in your area.
Should I Get WOW! ULTRA or Cut the Cord?
WOW! ULTRA integrates directly with Netflix and other streaming services, as well as pulling in premium cable channels like the NFL Network and HBO. If you find yourself switching back and forth between traditional cable and streaming a lot, then ULTRA is a good value.
If you really only watch one or two channels on cable, you might be happier just subscribing to them directly if those channels offer standalone subscriptions. TV bingers usually opt for a separate TV-specific provider like DirecTV, but the ULTRA is usually cheaper since it bundles in so many services into one bill.
WOW! Cable DVR Options
WOW! only offers a single DVR option, and it’s a bit light on features compared to other cable providers. The included system allows for 75 hours of SD video recording time, totaling 100 GB worth of storage space or only 10 hours of HD video.
This isn’t nearly enough for the average household, but thankfully the device offers a USB port for plugging in an external hard drive (it’s insane that some other companies don’t do this!).
They bill the product as a “whole-home” DVR, providing six tuners for simultaneous watching and recording. It features a slew of standard smart controls, including pausing, rewinding and fast-forwarding through shows. In addition, the ULTRA app for Android and iOS devices allows you to manage your DVR recordings.
The main drawback of WOW!’s DVR is that unlike other services, it does not include the ability to watch your recordings (or live TV).
The main “pro” is that the price is rolled into the main fee for cable TV. As you can see in the comparison with Xfinity and Cox below, WOW! falls short on performance but doesn’t charge a monthly fee. Renting a DVR from Xfinity, for example, can cost as much as $220+ a year. With WOW!, it’s free — you’ll just probably need to buy an external hard drive from Amazon/Best Buy/Etc to maximize your storage capacity.
|DVR||Storage||Tuners||Lease (May Vary)|
|Whole-Home DVR (WOW!)||10 hrs HD (expandable)||6||Included|
|X1 DVR (Comcast XFINITY)||200 hrs HD||6||~$9.95–19.95/mo.|
|2 HD-DVR (Cox)||200 hrs HD||2||~$21.49/mo.|
WOW! Internet Service Setup Guide
As mentioned above, WOW! has recently started to offer free in-home installation with a number of their bundled plans. Install fees have traditionally run anywhere from $20-$50 under normal circumstances, so this is a nice little perk to take advantage of, if it’s available to you. Unfortunately, these WOW! promotions tend to vary heavily by location, so you may be stuck paying an installation fee depending on where you call home. Currently, no self-installation options are available.
Once you sign up for service, the company will schedule an installation date for you. It’s usually a good idea to call a few weeks in advance of when you want your service set up, especially if you are moving to a new house or apartment. A few of our readers have noted wait times of several weeks at various times of the year, and the last thing you want is to go without internet at your new place.
The company will send someone out to set up your new rental router, but it’s important to note that in many cases, you can opt to use one you already have. Just keep in mind that not all modems and routers will be compatible with WOW!’s internet service.
Conclusion: WOW! Deals Are a Strong Value for Cord Cutters
WOW!’s unlimited streaming and industry-leading download speeds make it a strong contender for those of us who prefer to stream content online rather than subscribe to paid TV.
While most cable providers are trying to pressure customers into cable plans with sneaky pricing strategies and restrictive Internet-only options, WOW! is embracing the trend and updating their service to reflect what customers actually want.
Between that and the local customer service that picks up the phone when you have issues, WOW! is tough to beat within their service areas. If your only other option is DSL, it’s almost certainly the better pick for your home Wi-Fi needs.
James Webb is a tech and gadgets expert with a focus on educational content development. He draws on his background in the startup world to make complicated technologies and topics easy to understand for normal folks.